The swelling of similar samples of prehydrated phosphatidylcholine in excess water (> 99 wt/wt%) was studied microscopically and by X-ray diffraction. The Bragg peaks of the lamellar repeat distance were monitored for up to ten days. After a short period of rapid water uptake, the peaks remained stable in width and position, thus indicating that the so-called equilibrium distance was established in the fluid membrane stack. Within the next days we usually found the peaks to decrease continuously before they vanished in the background. The results suggest that the multilayer system desintegrates because the membranes peel off from it. Their separation may be driven by a tendency of the unstressed fluid membranes to develop a superstructure.